“Reducing Fall Risk in Older Adults” (Update from the CDC, July), really hit home for me. Having worked in acute care and ambulatory settings, I am glad to see that medication management is being recognized as an important factor in reducing falls.
As stated in the article, nurses play an important role in identifying medications that could put patients at risk. Patient education and team collaboration are also vital in preventing polypharmacy in older adults. Everyone involved in the patient's care, including the patient and caregiver, should be educated on the risks and benefits of each of the patient's prescribed medications. When a patient has multiple providers from different facilities operating on separate medical record systems, the opportunity arises for medications to be missed and/or interactions to occur.
Pharmacists can also play an important role in reducing fall risk by collaborating with providers and patients to reconcile patients’ medications and educate them on proper use. According to Huang and colleagues, “Collaboration, particularly between nurses and pharmacists, has the potential to reduce medication-related falls.”1
Nurses are able to build relationships with providers, patients, and pharmacists, as well as many other team members. We want to avoid polypharmacy in older adults, but it takes everyone working together to make this happen.
Wendy Wright, RN
1. Huang L, et al Interdisciplinary collaboration in medication-related falls prevention in older adults J Gerontol Nurs 2018 44 4 11–5